The Evolution of Technology Across Generations
During the last couple of decades, the human generations have experienced a huge growth in the development of technology. In between the technological evolution, we have experienced two significant generations: Baby Boomers and Millennials which represents the huge change that the technology had and have on their behaviour and lifestyle.
Baby Boomers are born between 1945 to 1965. Growing up to the development of technology, they are classified as digital immigrants. Boomers were in their teens to early 30s when the first IBM PC’s and Apples appeared. They grew up with pre-cellphone mobile technology, such as radio, television and landline telephones. Therefore, they did not have videogames or cellphones in their childhood. When it comes to technology, the Baby Boomers experienced a much different upbringing, compared to those born after them. The main technology breakthrough at that time was the rotary telephone and tube television. Otherwise, entertainment could be found outdoors with other children in the neighborhood, where conversational skills, exercise and life lessons occurred.
So when the Baby Boomers were first introduced to technology around 1960s, it had little impact on their everyday lives. Hence, technology did not play a pivotal role in that era. They were the postwar Baby Booms, born by parents who had postponed marriage and childbirth during the Great Depression and World War II. In the 1970s technology still had very little impact on the generation, because it was seen as something that only the academics used. During the 1980s, the technology slowly invaded people’s homes and changed their behavior. People became increasingly concerned about company practice and lack of customer satisfaction. By means of technology, communication was improved to help customers make more informed decisions and to have better choices. Moreover, the time came when Baby Boomers participated eagerly in the consumer economy, using modern credit cards and charged their accounts to buy things like televisions, hi-fi systems and new cars. Though, manufacturers and marketers had their eyes on another group of shoppers as well: the millions of relatively affluent boomer children, Millennials.
And so came the Millennials. Millennials are children of Baby Boomers and born between 1979 and early 2000’s. Millennials are also known as the digital natives, because in their time, the technological evolution had reached an establishment.
Millennials have grown up in a time of rapid change, giving them a set of priorities and expectations sharply different from the Baby Boomers. Because in the 1990s, technology was now everywhere, and it began to connect people around the globe. Around this century, the growth of technology became rapidly fast and explosive, but this was not a problem, since the new generation was quickly adopting to it. Millennials have come of age during a time of technological change, globalization and economic disruption, which has given them a different set of behaviors and experiences than their parents. By the year of 2000, the entrance of social media allowed customers to articulate their satisfaction with companies and make decisions based on the company’s behavior and not just on price alone. So at this point, companies also began to react and change. Also, Millennials affinity for technology helps shape how they shop. They are used to instant access to price comparisons, product information and peer reviews. In the decade 2010, technology became fully integrated into people’s daily lives. The internet and smartphones in an always-on digital world, has giving the Millennials a platform to reach the world.
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The people of technology
Today, both Baby Boomers and Millennials have access to the same technology. However, the behavior towards technology and its usage differs between the two generations.
The Boomers, for instance, use the technology to assist them with getting the information they need and increasing their convenience. The technology in the hand of the Millennials is being used more or less for connections. Recognition and self-expression are some of the goals the Millennials wants to achieve through technology. The older generation sees the social networking and mobile technology as “new technology”, whereas for Millennials it is just the where and how of interaction. Because of the fast growth in the technological evolution, the Boomers only had the opportunity to grow up seeing it, whereas the Millennials grew up knowing it. Technology is still growing and will by time have a more important role in people’s daily lives. Technology in the future is going to shape the newer generations and among 81% of children will have a digital footprint by the time they are only two years old.
To sum up, technology was less apparent in the age of Baby Boomers, whereas today, technology is everywhere we look. Baby Boomers are distant relatives to technology, since they valued other things in the time of its visibility. Maybe they were too busy giving their children all the material things that they themselves had done without. So the Millennials grew up living in a digitalized world. But generations will come and go. Once it was a world with Baby Boomers, today it is the Millennials and soon, the world will be taken over by the next generation. Technology on the other hand, will always stay and always evolve. It will always evolve in the hands of the current generation, who will pass it on to the next generation and by this, the technological evolution will keep on changing the generations behavior and lifestyle.
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